Sunday, 20th May 2018
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Dear Editor

I would urge those who at the moment see the 12 weeks as a stumbling block to a yes vote, to take a moment to consider the following. Firstly, we are not actually voting on any of the proposed legislation. That still has to make it through the Dáil should the 8th amendment be repealed.

But secondly, even if the legislation does pass we need to look at what actually happens in reality. I think we all know, if we think about it, that when faced with an unintended pregnancy most women will not take months to make up her mind what she wants to do.

We know that between those who travel and those who take abortion pills at home there are at least 4,000 abortions in Ireland every year. Figures from 2016 show that 70% of these abortions take place within the first 9 weeks. If this is what women are doing now, when there are serious logistic challenges involved with accessing abortion, there is no reason to believe that they will suddenly start having terminations at a much later stage if abortion care becomes available to them at home.

However, while most women currently have their terminations this early on some won’t be in a position to, even if abortion becomes accessible to them in Ireland. Some won’t know that they are pregnant until they are at 9, 10, or even 11 weeks. They may be using contraception (51% of women needing an abortion were), have irregular cycles, or be too young or traumatised to fully understand what is happening to them. These women should not be punished. 12 weeks is very much an international standard when it comes to abortion care. It is the least we can do.

Yours,

Ingrid Seim

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